Since last fall, the students have been working to solve this year's challenge, which asked students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania's transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls, or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.
The statewide winning team's innovation, "Saving Energy, Generating Cash," consists of using piezoelectric plates on heavily traveled roadways and transportation networks, generating large amounts of sustainably sourced energy.
Mentored by Nick Solomon, the statewide winning team members are Misha Bankulla, Gopiga Doss, and Daniel Porotov.
PennDOT also acknowledges runner-up entries from The Hill School, Montgomery County in PennDOT's Engineering District 6 and North Allegheny Cyber Academy, Allegheny County in PennDOT's Engineering District 11.
The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA), and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) provided a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second, and third place teams.
The PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students in grades nine to 12 to use their problem-solving, creative, and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore actual transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.